Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to Make a 3-D cake

Making 3-D cakes are actually easier than they look.  I have a few books that give step by step instructions plus I have found a lot of neat ideas on the Internet.  To start with you basically need to make a cake in an oven proof dish that is similar to the cake you want to make. 

I have found for more sculpted cakes that sponge cakes work best.  They keep their shape well and don't settle as much as a regular cake.  I have used boxed cakes before and they turned out fine, but they do settle some and distort a little.

Once your cake is done you need some fondant and decorations for your cake.

I normally use marshmallow fondant to cover the cake.  I also use it to sculpt too but add a little xanthum gum powder to it so it is a little firmer and will dry out some.  The marshmallow fondant is cheap plus I think it tastes a lot better than regular fondant.  If I ever do some major sculpting again I will buy some fondant just for that and still use the marshmallow fondant to cover the cake. 

I made these little teddy bears out of the marshmallow fondant that I added some xanthum gum powder to.  The eyes were candy eyes.  I have my white marshmallow fondant ready to roll out, butter cream frosting, and my sponge cake.  I made this in two 8 inch square pans.

I cut the cakes into 9 squares.  I like making these cakes because I had no waste.  I used all the cake.  To cover the cake with fondant you first put a thin layer of butter cream frosting on.  Then cover with a thin layer of fondant.  I made individual gift bag cakes so I just rolled a strip of fondant around the cake.  Left  a layer at the top and then placed my teddy bears, suckers, and m&m's on top.  I cut a Christmas tree out of rolled green fondant and attached it to the front of the bags with butter cream frosting.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Frosty the Snowman Cake Pops!

I saw the design for these cake pops on line and decided to try them. I wanted to make some festive cake pops for a Christmas party tonight but I wanted to use things I had on hand and not have to buy all new items.  I had white chocolate and several items to decorate with so I decided to go with snowmen.  I was going to just make plain snowmen when I saw that the Frosty the snowman looked quite simple and I figured out how to make the hats from different purchased candy.

For the hats I bought chocolate coins and Rolos.  Just  unwrap the coins and with some melted chocolate attach the rolo to the center with the wider portion at the top.  I had a bag of these candy flowers that I just attached with melted chocolate. I did not have enough of the pink so they are various colors.  They still look cute and still look like Frosty.

For the corn cob pipes I just used small yellow gum drops cut in half.  I kept the cut side down and broke small pieces of spaghetti to use as the pipe. 

Next I just made a yellow cake and used what frosting I had in the fridge.  I made a basic cake ball and dipped them in white chocolate.  After they were dry it was time to decorate.  I used cinnamon imperials for the nose and candy eyes for the eyes.  Both were attached with white chocolate.  Then I used black gel food coloring and drew on a smile with a thin paint brush.  To attach the hat put I put the cake pops on some Styrofoam and used white chocolate.  Once dry I very carefully poked a whole in the mouth and pushed in the corn cob pipe. 

Once they were all dry I used sucker bags and put them over top.  Tied them up with some ribbon and displayed them in a peck produce basket filled with polyester fiberfill. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pop Can Cake

I found this idea on pinterest.  I am new to pinterest and I am loving it.  I don't sit up at night and search for hours on it but once in a while go on and see some new things.  This was posted as a birthday cake so I changed it to suit my taste.

Here is the link where I found it originally posted from pinterest.  I will show you how I adapted it to change for a Christmas gift.

First all you need is a few ingredients.  Get a 12 pack of any type of can soda.  We used the favorite type of soda for the intended recipient of the cake.  The get a bag of the fun size candy bars.  Any type that you prefer.  I bought snickers because the wrapper was brown and matched the cream soda cans.  You will need a cake board.  I bought the 14 inch cake boards from Wilton.  You also will need an empty 2 liter pop bottle with the top cut off.  I just cut it off at the top of the label, then I removed the label.  You will also need some ribbon and either tape or hot glue.

First take 8 cans of soda and arrange them in a circle on the cake board.  Put the pop bottle upside down in the middle.  I made sure all the labels of the cans were facing out. 

You can tape or glue the cans to the bottle if you want.  I did not.  Next you use a wide wire ribbon and put it around the bottom of the cans.  I hot glued the beginning of the ribbon to a can.  Then I pulled the ribbon nice and tight to keep the cans together.  Then I hot glued the end to the beginning of the ribbon.

Now you either tape or glue the candy bars all around the pop bottle.  I used hot glue.  The original had you just put a candle on top for a birthday cake and ribbon.  I decided to also fill the top of the bottle with candy bars as well.

Now you will take some wire ribbon that is a not as wide as the bottom ribbon.  Glue that around the bottom of the candy bars.  Then make a bow out of your wider ribbon.  Tie it with the smaller ribbon and hot glue or tape on top.  I let the ribbon drape on the side and then hot glued it in place to the pop cans. 

The cake board cost $1
Pop was                    $4
Candy bars were       $3
The ribbon was         $2
For a total of             $10

Plus I had left over ribbon, pop, and candy bars.  So if you subtract that out you have a very nice gift customized to your recipient for under $10!!! 
My son who does not like cake now wants one of these for his birthday cake!! We will see!!

I am linking to Farmgirl Friday Bloghop

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Home Made Fruit Snacks

I saw this recipe on pinterest and just had to try it.  Here is the link to it on pinterest.

I never dreamed it was so simple and easy to make these.  I bought a mold that came with the package to make fruit snacks a long time ago.  So I had the cute dinosaur mold.  I am so glad I found this recipe because now I can make them with whatever flavor I want and in the shapes that are perfect for my kids.  You can substitute fruit juice for the water to make them more nutritious. 

All you need is a 3 oz package of jello, 2 packages of unflavored gelatin, and water.
Sprinkle  the gelatin over top of 1/3 cup of water in a small saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved.  I poured it into a measuring cup with a spout.  Then pour into molds.  No need to spray the molds.  Wait 20 minutes for it to cool and the fruit snacks will pull right out.  These do not need to be refrigerated.

I used peach, berry blue, and raspberry.  For my one son I used the dinosaur molds.  He loves animals.  For the other I used a mold that has music notes, the treble and bass clef, flat, and sharp signs.  He loves music and plays the piano.  The left over I put in different shaped santas.  These I divided up into three bags to give to my little niece and nephews.

Dissolve gelatin in water over medium heat. 
This does not take long. 
Less than 5 minutes.

Pour into molds.  Anything you have will do.
These are molds that I use for chocolates.

Wait 20 minutes and peel out of the mold.
Just rub your thumb over the edge and they peel right out.
Here are the dinosaurs

My music notes!

The different shaped santas!!

Bagged up ready to put in stockings and
to give as gifts.  Such a simple homemade gift to give!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Orange Taffy

This is called taffy but it tastes more like an orange caramel.  They are so yummy though and almost addicting.  They remind me of those Brachs flavored caramels. 

This is also a recipe that I got out of one of my old taste of home magazines.  Here is the recipe on line.  I will also give you the original recipe as it was printed in the magazine.

Orange Taffy
2 cups sugar
2 cups light corn syrup
1 can (6 oz) frozen orange juice concentrate, undiluted
pinch salt
1 cup light cream
1/2 cup butter

In a heavy saucepan, combine the first four ingredients.  Make sure you use only 6 oz of orange juice.  I normally can only find a 12 oz can so I just put half the can of orange juice in it. Insert your candy thermometer before you turn on the heat.  Cook and stir  over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a boil and cook until a candy thermometer reads 245 degrees Fahrenheit. You do not need to stir once the sugar has dissolved.

While this is cooking prepare your pan.  Line a 15x10x1 inch pan with aluminum foil.  Spray foil with cooking spray.

Add the cream and butter and stir.  Bring back to 245 degrees Fahrenheit stirring frequently. 

The mixture will begin to darken and thicken as it gets closer to 245 degrees.

Pull off the heat and pour mixture into the prepare pan.  I like to have mine on a cooling rack so that it cools down a lot faster.

Once it is cool lift out the taffy and flip it onto a cutting board.  Peel off the foil. 

I cut the taffy into 1/2 inch long strips and then into 1 1/2 inch long pieces.  Some get a little shorter or a little longer.  It is not real exact.  Now you can actually roll each piece in your hand to form them into a log before you wrap them.  It was close to midnight so I just wrapped them in the shape that they were. 

I wrapped them in precut candy foil wrappers.  You can also wrap them in waxed paper pieces.  These look so festive and are pretty inexpensive at my local bulk food store. 

I packaged them in a clear bag so you could see all the pretty foil colors. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Creamy Caramels

I have been making this recipe for years.  It is one of the best recipes I have tried for caramels.  It is also easy to remember.  Everything has a 1.  I originally found it in an old issue of the Taste of Home magazine.  You can find the recipe here on the taste of home website.  The only thing I have noticed about this site is sometimes they have changed the recipe slightly from the way it was originally printed in the magazines.  So I will also post the recipe I use the way it is printed in the magazine.

Creamy Caramels
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup butter
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

In a heavy 3 quart saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup and butter. Insert a candy thermometer.  On medium heat bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Boil for 4 minutes without stirring. During this step prepare your pan. Line a 8 inch square pan with foil.  Butter or spray the foil with cooking spray.  Add the sweetened condensed milk.  Stir to combine and lower the heat to medium low.  Bring to soft ball stage stirring frequently.  The recipe says to bring it to 238 degrees Fahrenheit.  I have found that this is a little too soft for our taste.  So I take it to 242 degrees Fahrenheit.  This makes a nice firm caramel.  It is amazing how just a few degrees makes that big of a difference.  Once the caramel hits about 225-230 you will want to begin to stir constantly.  The caramel will have darkened and begun to get thick.  Once you have reached the temperature you want take it off the heat and add your vanilla.  Stir to combine.  Pour into the prepared pan and allow to completely cool.  Remove caramel from pan and peel off the foil.  Cut into 1 inch squares and wrap each piece with wax paper. Yields about 64 pieces.

After you add the milk it is real light in color.  You now lower the heat to medium low
Just a fair warning.  From this point it will take at least 20-30 minutes of cooking to get
to the soft ball stage. 

I don't have a 8 inch square pan. This pan is equivalent to it though.
I have always used this pan and it turns out just fine.

The caramel is nice and bubbly.  Don't forget to add your vanilla
before you pour it into the pan. I have before so now I always
put the bottle of vanilla beside the stove so I won't forget!!

I like to put the pan on a cooling rack.  This helps it cool down a lot faster

If you bring your caramel to 240 degrees Fahrenheit it will firm up nicely.
Flip the caramel to a cutting board and carefully pull off the foil.

I cut 1 inch rows first and then cut each row into 1 inch pieces

Wrap them in squares of wax paper.  I cheat and buy packages
of wax paper squares from a bulk food store.

Package them up to give as gifts or put in a container to serve and eat.
I always make sure I keep a few back for my own family to eat!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Bark

I love to make Christmas Bark.  It is easy to make and makes great gifts.  I have three versions of it that I make.  But you can really add anything you want to it.

Oreo Bark

Take white chocolate and melt it.  I use the 1 1/2 pound packages and melt them down. You can either melt in the microwave or in a double boiler.  I prefer a double boiler.  So it stays melted between batches.

Take a bag of oreos and crush them in a gallon size bag. 

Pour the oreos into the melted chocolate.  I used only half the bag of  crushed oreos.  Then either pour onto a cookie sheet and spread out or spoon into molds.  I found these great molds at a craft store last year.  They hold 1/2 pound of melted chocolate.

I like to use the snowflake mold for white chocolate bark and the Christmas tree mold for the chocolate bark. If you are using mold spoon the chocolate into the mold then tap the mold lightly on the counter to release air bubbles and to spread it out evenly.  Put mold in the freezer for 5-10 minutes until it is completely set.  If you spread it out on a cookie sheet.  Let it completely harden and then break into small pieces.

Remove from the mold and bag it up.
I like to tie them up with some pretty ribbon.


Crisp Rice Bark

I like putting in the crisp rice into chocolate bark.  It taste like a Nestle Crunch Bar.  I found these at a bulk food store but you can get them at most places that sell candy making supplies.

I only used half of this bag to the 1 1/2 pound package of chocolate.

I get 3 molded barks out of each 1 1/2 pound package.  There is a little left over so I make suckers out of the left overs.

These cow suckers looked so cute in the white chocolate Oreo.

I used up the other half of the bag of crushed oreos and made chocolate Oreo bark.

The last type of bark I normally make is peppermint bark.  I normally make this using white chocolate.

Peppermint Bark

Crush candy canes and put into your melted white chocolate.  I love peppermint bark.  It is so pretty and festive.  Plus I love peppermint. 

 Here is my basket of Christmas bark.  I figure out the price and it cost about $1.50 for each big bag of Christmas Bark.  Not bad for a nice gift to give out!!